Quick pickled onions are so easy to make and crazy flavorful! All you need is 5 simple ingredients and 10 minutes of time - no canning required! They are a a staple in our home. I always keep a jar or two easily accessible in the fridge. Quick pickled onions add so much flavor to your favorite foods - any kind of taco, burgers, brats, grain bowls and more!
Quick pickled onions are like dill pickles and olives to me - I always have to have a jar in the fridge! I love having quick pickled onions ready to grab when I need them, and they keep in the fridge for at least 3 months. You can even snack on them straight out of the jar! Vinegar adds a light pickled, zesty flavor to the onion while taming down the strong onion flavor, creating the perfect balance! The pickling process also turns the onions a fun shade of pink!
What are Quick Pickled Onions?
Quick Pickled Onions are made from vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and of course, red onions. The vinegar, water, sugar and salt gets heated together then poured over thinly sliced red onions. This process pickles the onions in about one hour. The pickled onions stay nice and crisp and develop more flavor the longer they sit in the fridge. So so delicious!
Please keep in mind that the pickled onions MUST be stored in the refrigerator or they will go bad. This recipe doesn't require any pressure canning so the jars are not sealed, meaning refrigeration IS required. I have found that jars of quick pickled onions can last at least a few months in the refrigerator. The vinegar keeps them fresh and crisp! But, please use your best judgement. If you see anything that resembles mold or if the onions get mushy or smell funky, then toss them. I have never had that issue though!
How to Make Quick Pickled Onions.
Onion. You will need 1-2 red onions to fill one pint jar, depending on the size of the onions.
Water. Just from the tap is fine.
Vinegar. White distilled vinegar is all you need. If desired, you could use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Sugar. Just a little granulated sugar to balance out the vinegar.
Salt. I use table salt, but you can also use kosher or sea salt.
Optional ingredients. To amp up the flavor of the pickled onions, you can add fresh dill, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, or fresh garlic, just to name a few! But, the onions are still great without the added flavors!
How to use Quick Pickled Onions!
Once you have a jar of quick pickled onions in the fridge, you will find yourself tossing them on everything! They add SO much flavor to your favorite foods. You'll be addicted. Here are some of my favorite foods to eat them with!
- Tacos. I'm talking any kind of taco! Mexican beef tacos, pulled pork tacos, chicken tacos, Korean beef tacos, fish tacos, even quesadillas and enchiladas! I've literally tried it all and I have never been disappointed! As you can see, adding the quick pickled onions to tacos is my favorite way to enjoy them!
- Burgers, hot dogs and brats. Yep. Top a freshly grilled burger or brat with quick pickled onions to add just the right amount of zest! They're great with beef, pork, chicken and even turkey burgers!
- Salad or grain bowl. I love to add quick pickled onions to a green salad. So good. Or even add the onions to a grain bowl - Mexican, Asian, Greek, any and everything.
Once you taste these quick pickled onions, you'll be craving them and adding the onions to everything possible!
Tips & Substitutions.
How to store quick pickled onions. Quick pickled onions must be stored in the refrigerator at all times. Stored this way, they will last at least 3 months, if not longer. Please use your best judgement. If you see anything that resembles mold or if the onions get mushy or smell funky, then toss them. I have never had that issue though!
What size jar to use. I like to use a pint jar or glass jar with a hinged lid, like this one from Amazon. Both jars are 16 ounces.
What kind of salt to use. I just use regular table salt, but you could also use kosher or sea salt.
Mix up the flavor! You can add fresh dill to give the onion a more true pickled taste, peppercorns or red pepper flakes to add a little kick, or fresh garlic to infuse garlicky flavor.
Try another type of onion. Red onions have a slightly more mild flavor compared to yellow or white onions, so I prefer to quick pickle red onions. But, feel free to mix it up! Any type of onion would be good!
How many onions to use. One large onion or two small onions is a good amount for one pint jar. Feel free to double or triple the recipe!
Easy Quick Pickled Onions
- 1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Pack the thinly sliced red onion into a pint size jar.
- In a small saucepan, heat together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar over medium-high heat until lightly boiling to dissolve salt and sugar, about 4-5 minutes. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the onions and close the jar.
- Let cool to room temperature. Although you can eat the onions once they have cooled, I recommend letting them pickle for 24 hours first. Once the onions have cooled, leave them in the pickling liquid with the jar closed and store in the refrigerator.